...there was rebrand called Advanced. This FairITale has a happy ending…

Imagine how it would feel to be given the opportunity to position the UK’s third largest software provider as a challenger to some of the world’s technology giants? And for the work to go on to be shortlisted for two coveted marketing awards, and winner of one..?

Somewhere in the realms of Cinderella finding out she would go to the ball? And Prince Charming discovering Cinderella’s foot was the perfect fit. And that they would live happily ever after..?

Now you know how we felt as a team when we beat off stiff agency competition to work on the Advanced rebrand. With the global software giants being the likes of Oracle, Infor and Sage. And how we felt when, at same time, we were tasked with developing a campaign to launch the new brand whilst simultaneously filling the sales pipeline.

Only 14 weeks till the ball? Let’s get waving that magic wand then…

Our adrenalin was catapulted to new heights with the news that the brand would be launched just 14 weeks after work had begun. This only boosted our resolve to do what we do best, and that’s deliver excellence.

As a team, we simultaneously delivered the necessary research, collaboration – with Advanced and each other – and idea development. With the brand strategy and voice, visual identity and campaign concept all feeding each other.

We usually find that client branding workshops throw up whole host of gems we can use in their brand narrative. In this case, it was that Advanced is known for not selling ‘theory’. Unlike other providers who sell a ‘fairy tale’, overpromising and under delivering to their customers.

Advanced don’t sell fairy tales. Only right-first-time solutions.

So, all the references to Cinderella should now be falling into place. Well, that’s if you haven’t already heard about the highly successful FairITales campaign.

The fairy tale reference became a focal point for us when developing the brand strategy. It highlights throughout that Advanced is straight forward, genuine and delivers on its promises – with easy-to-use, right-first-time solutions.

As you’ll also gather, it became the ‘big idea’ for the lead generation campaign.

The further beauty was that the rebrand strategy, narrative and identity served as a reference point for the campaign. As well as underpinning the concept itself in the development of the initial visuals, headlines and roadmap, these were instrumental when developing the FairITale stories.

The adapted classics needed to be in a language that would attract the attention of CEOs, directors and other senior managers. Across a full range of sectors. Without them thinking that Advanced had taken leave of their senses in such a brave departure from the ‘usual’ business focused campaign.

With the right brand foundations, you can dare to be bold. And being bold wins awards.

There’s no doubt it was a very bold move to use stylised images of pumpkin carriages, a multi-functional oat transformer and Ebenezer Scrooge, of all characters, when relaunching a business software brand. And using statements like ‘No one wants their infrastructure turning into a pumpkin at midnight’, particularly when that brand wants to be taken seriously next to some pretty serious brands.

However, the exact words of Marketing Society Chair of Judges, Paul Geddes, at their 2017 Excellence Awards was that the panel had recognised brands that had dared to be bold. And so, despite being up against campaigns from EasyJet, O2, Vodafone and Ingredion, there’s no doubt that both Graymatter and Advanced’s courage to stand out and be different helped to win the ‘Communicating B2B Effectively’ category.

In the end, it’s Value Creation that creates a happily ever after.

You may feel this award alone is enough of a happy ending. But for us, it’s more about what it took to be shortlisted for that award. Identifying how the new Advanced brand and the campaign could support its business objectives meant we could work closely with our client towards the same goals.

Only the most seasoned of marketers sit on award panels. And so it’s no coincidence that what they have recognised as excellence is our close collaboration with Advanced, our understanding of their targets, and how these things helped achieve a huge return on investment and bulging pipeline.

Advanced was also shortlisted for ‘Rebrand/Relaunch Strategy of the Year’ at the 2017 DRUM Marketing Awards. Our combined work with our client resulted in a + 23 shift in NPS score on top of the huge increase in sales. This was enough to see us in an otherwise pure B2C category of mega brands like Argos, Iceland and FUJIFILM, and agencies like Sky media and Chi & Partners.

Going back to our remit at the very beginning. Which was to position Advanced as a challenger to the likes of Oracle, Infor, Sage and other software Superbrands. Whether or not we won either award, we knew we’d helped them achieve this simply by being in the room.

It’s all of these things combined that have created the happily ever after to this rebrand. The good news is, FairITales is still running. So, it’s not quite the end yet…


Natalie Martin | Head of Copy at Graymatter | June 2017


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